“One of my challenges [as a writer] is to make sure that I’m giving the reader details that the character cares about rather than details that I care about. I’d say that’s key to world-building.” ― Jessica Andersen

Reading Assignments:

Note that everything in world building is interconnected. Some of these articles will relate heavily with creating your world’s cultures, which we will dive into next week. Also, some of these articles may not relate to what you’re working on, and it’s okay to skip those that don’t.

1.) Setting and Worldbuilding – by Kaitlin Hillerich
2.) World Building: Part 1- Physical Setting – by Writers in the Storm
3.) Habitable Atmospheres for Authors – by Dan Koboldt (Good for Sci-Fi writers.)
4.) Questions to Ask When Creating Fictional Cities – by Melissa Gravitis
5.) Thinking About Food in Fantasy – by Victoria Hooper
6.) Five Underplayed Commodities for Kingdoms to Fight Over – by Oren Ashkenazi
7.) Five Plausible Scenarios for Planetary Evacuation – by Oren Ashkenazi (Good for Sci-Fi writers.)
8.) Physical and Historical Features – by Patricia C. Wrede (Concentrate on the physical world building this week as we’ll take a look at your world history next week along with your world’s culture.)

Making Maps

Map making is not as hard as you think it is! So don’t miss out on reading these articles.

1.) Do What Tolkien Did (But Not What You Think He Did) – by Tineke Bryson
2.) How To Draw A World Map – by Jonathan (Explains more than just how to make a map, but also the way geography works, which is essential to world building.)
3.) Make a Perfect Fantasy World Map With Macaroni! – By Emily Asher-Perrin (Note there is a lot of swearing in this, but if you want to pretend you’re a kid again, this is lots of fun! The Fantasy Map Examples below includes a slightly different version of this tutorial and has no swearing, if that bothers you.)
4.) Fantasy Map Examples – by Anna Jordan Draves (Examples of the tutorials above. Map making really isn’t all that hard!)


Writing Assignments:

Narrow down the scope of your world for this assignment. For example, think about one specific town or region, rather than the entire country.  It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers yet. Just write down what you know now and keep these questions in the back of your mind for more answers later.

1.) Food is probably one of the most important things in your world. What do your characters eat? What is grown near them? What is imported? What is considered a delicacy? By the poor? The rich? What do other creatures eat (Aliens? Unicorns?…) and remember that people like elves and dwarves won’t eat the same foods, and also won’t live in the same areas, though if they do in your world, why is that? What is considered travel food? Why?
2.) Natural resources and imported resources beyond food: List three of each for a specific area of your world. And explain why – how does the region support these natural resources? (Are there vast forests for wood?) How does travel support the use of your specific imported resources? (ships? trucks?) What resources are exported? Are there any natural resources that are NOT exported? Why?
3.) Using either map tutorial, draw a basic map of your world. It’s okay if you don’t know much about your place yet. This could give you some ideas to work with.


Class Discussion:

1.) Discuss the articles you read. Where there any that were more helpful than others? List 1-2 things you learned that maybe you hadn’t known or thought of before. This is also a good place to reintroduce yourself, if necessary.

Getting in the Mood:

1.) Write for 20 minutes: A character is traveling through your world. They are bedding down for the night. Things to answer in your narrative using dialogue and action: What is their mode of transportation? What have they brought with them? Are they eating dinner? What are they eating? What are they sleeping on? Where are they going? Why? Is anyone traveling with them?  Write a few paragraphs. Share your narrative.

Group Assignments:

1.) Get into small groups. Have each person share their general ideas while the rest of the group helps to expand on them. Ask questions. What are the natural resources of the land? If you know anything about your characters and plot, how does your world so far work with them? What would help make it better? The owner of these ideas should be taking notes, but remember, you don’t have to like, or eventually use, any of them. Just write them down so you can ruminate on them later. 
2.) Get into small groups, these can be the same groups, or different. Have each person share their maps and explain what they did. Ask questions of the maps and see if they can be improved upon. Remember, these maps aren’t meant to be perfect, but to help the writer get to know their world a little better.